In past few days, there has been a lot of hue and cry on the fact that Imran Khan is using the helicopter assigned to the premier of Pakistan as if either he is not the current premier or the helicopter in question belongs to some other government.
While media was busy making sensational headlines out of this commute, social media has gone nuts over immature financial justification given by Fawad Choudhary.
Being a PTI supporter, as much as I really want new government to focus on the 100 day’s agenda I really want them to be as careful in their communication with public.
All these trolls & speculations could have been avoided by a simple statement that this mode of transport is the best choice given the circumstances.
There was absolutely no need to involve Google in it but since it has already become part of the discussions happening everywhere I just thought to show off my math skills as well.
Fuel consumption of helicopters are not calculated on per kilometer basis but rather on hourly basis. As per one of the recent articles by BBC, helicopter being used by premier is Augusta Westland AW139.
This particular helicopter consumes 150 Gallons/Hour according to the manufacturers specifications given on their official site.
Assuming each 10 minutes trip required helicopter to be in-flight mode (Including wait, takeoff & landing.) for half an hour so the fuel burn should have been around 75 Gallons or 300 Liters.
According to OGRA site, Jet Fuel price is around Rs. 65/Liter. That is roughly equal to Rs. 19,500 of fuel cost for a half an hour of flight. Does this seem too low? Well, obviously there are other operational costs like pilot’s salary, other crew/aviation team member’s salaries, helicopter depreciation & maintenance, etc.
But would not all of these costs be incurred regardless of premier using the helicopter or not?
But, what our premier did, is that such an act that amounted so much criticism? Well, using a helicopter is pretty much a norm in the developed countries with even local police patrolling areas or taking investigators to a crime scene.
It is also being used as ambulances in various parts across the globe. They are also being used for sightseeing with fares under $200 for a 15 minutes’ flight over Manhattan.
So instead of wasting energies in discussions around how much it would cost to fly on a helicopter, if we must, we should have been asking the real questions like;
Does a premier really need to have a Helicopter in his transport fleet? I would say if there is a helicopter at his disposal, then he must be given the choice of using it.
Is it a better way to commute than a traditional premier convoy that would include multiple vehicles and deployment of security and administrative personnel along the route? I would say, Yes!, Use a helicopter dear premier on the humanitarian grounds even if it costed way more than a traditional convey.
There are a lot of intrinsic factors where you cannot associate any price tag. For example, you cannot attach any price tag to the time saved by premier. You cannot attach any price tag to ambulances not having to stuck in traffic jams for extended time for premier’s trip. Etc…
Is it safer than traditional way of commute? Well, AW139 the helicopter in question does glide so in-case of a complete engine failure, autorotation can help make a safe landing. But since I am not an expert on these matters, so leave this questions with the people who know this field.
Would using a helicopter contradicts with the claims of adopting modesty? Well, to me using a helicopter to fly from one place and land on to another without a power show on the roads with a large fleet to follow, making life miserable for all the people stuck behind safety arrangements desperately waiting to reach their destinations does sound like modesty.
Anyways, there are way more important issues we have to deal with right now other than the choices our premier is making for transportation. So if you must, dear premier, use a helicopter as you may please by all means.
Originally Published at The News International.